Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers.[a] So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.
10 Now there was a believer[b] in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord!” he replied.
11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”
13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers[c] in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”
15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.
Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
Saul stayed with the believers[d] in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”
22 Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. 23 After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. 24 They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. 25 So during the night, some of the other believers[e] lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall.
26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
28 So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. 30 When the believers[f] heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown.
31 The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.
LD Gillespie talked about "Life Changing Events"
We can go back to many life changing events that we remember in great detail - the day we met our spouses, the day we got married, the birth of children, the day we gave our lives to Jesus...
Saul's conversion was a life changing event.
The believers in the Book of Acts were willing to sacrifice everything to share The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Saul was passionate about stopping the followers of Jesus because he truly believed they were a cult. He was doing what he thought was right for God. He thought Jesus was a false prophet, and wanted to stop everyone involved with spreading what he considered lies about Jesus.
But -on the road to Damascus, Saul met Jesus-
The same Jesus who had been crucified on a cross. The same Jesus whose followers Saul had captured and had killed. For three days, he was blind, and during that time, Saul probably thought back to the people he had killed and persecuted because of Jesus. He had to come to the realization that he had been wrong.
God sent Ananias to speak to Saul. Ananias knew who Saul was, but he was still faithful to do what God told him. In verse 15 the Lord says, "Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to the kings, as well as the people of Israel."
Ananias seems insignificant, but he wasn't. He was able to minister to Saul; the scales fell from his eyes, and Saul regained his sight. Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, and immediately began preaching about Jesus.
No ministry is too small and we learn this through the faithfulness of Ananias. Because he was faithful and trusted God, he was able to allow God to work through him.
Saul didn't wait until he had learned everything about Jesus. He immediately went to work. God stopped Saul in his tracks. He shined a light in Saul's eyes and changed his life.
Listen to the next lesson where we learn more about Saul and his willingness to be used by God.
What kind of example have you been?